Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

On March 21, 2001 I took half a day off of work to surprise my mom for her birthday. I came home and the first thing she said was "Did you get fired?" I laughed and told her that I was surprising her and taking her out to lunch for her birthday.

One week later, they turned off our phones at work (Health Insurance Call Center) and gathered the entire floor together. They then informed us that the company would be closing our location and moving the jobs to other locations. They said the last day would be the end of September and that they would start laying people off that July. They asked us to stay and to keep us from leaving after the announcement they told us we would all get a very nice severance package if we stayed. They also arranged for us to take Resume writing classes and even hosted a job fair.  After the announcement they let us all go home for the rest of the day with pay (this was before lunch). I went home and told my mom that "I got fired" then I explained the situation. 

I was still working there on September 11, 2001. I had been told that they actually wanted me to stay until the middle of October since they weren't ready to transfer all our calls to the other call center locations.

At that time I had a really cool 19 inch tv in my bedroom. It had a setting where you could have the tv turn on automatically at a certain time. I chose to have it turn on about 15-20 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. That way I could wake up to Channel 5 (Local NBC station) News and not the annoying alarm clock. 

It was 6 AM. The tv turned on and I slowly woke up. I was confused at what was on tv. It should have been the local news and instead there was the Today Show showing a burning building. That woke me up fast. I left my room and went upstairs to find my mom watching the news in her office. We both went downstairs and watched the news, discussing what could have happened with my dad - who was also awake and watching the news. We all were thinking that it was a horrible accident........then the second plane hit the second tower. I knew at that moment that the world was changing. 

I went to work (had to) and since it was so slow, we got a tv/vcr that was used for training and brought it out to the front of the call center room. Myself and about 10-20 other employees (the only ones left) watched the news all day in between calls. We had a few calls, but not many since most of the people who normally would be calling were either watching the news, not at work, or even living in New York and didn't have cell phone service. 

I will always remember that day as a really scary, sad (thinking of the people who had died), confusing (not sure who was responsible for the attack), and kind of pissed off. How dare someone(some people) attack us on our land? They didn't care about the people that were killed and injured. They didn't care about the fear their attack created. They were just fundamentalist who thought that their religion would reward them for the terror they created (which the religion they claimed to be members of would never approve of).

One good thing that came from this day, 10 years ago, was that it created much more patriotism. It helped some people become closer to friends and family. But still.....I wish it hadn't happened. I wish we could get back to the pre-9/11 days where you could walk to the gate with your loved one and watch the plane take off. Days where people of the Muslim faith were not looked at being terrorists. Days where if there was a proposed Mosque to be build near the Twin Towers it wouldn't have made a ripple in the news. Not many people would have cared. Days when life was just more simple and no one thought of the horrors of that day.

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